The quest for equality

Not a political rallying cry, not a question of colour or religion – it’s all about sex.

Why does your physical make-up still have such a huge impact on your existence? From Florence Nightingale to Emmeline Pankhurst – From Marie Curie to Germaine Greer – each of these unique women and so many others like them have opened doors for our generation, raised that ubiquitous glass ceiling and obliterated the gender-based barriers of old. Yet despite this “progress” the slightly sour taste of an old boys club is still redolent in the modern age.

Physical strength comparisons are a moot point – there are simply and without discussion certain activities where a man’s brute strength is greater than that of a woman’s – it is as it is!

What I’m referring to is that faintly condescending manner, surprised and patronising revolving around things business related, mechanical, sporting and financial. I’m just blown away that because you’re a girl apparently makes you somehow slightly less important, less worthy and less capable than a boy.

Postscript: This is not meant as an anti-men diatribe in the slightest – however, these are two examples (Honor Killings and Womens Rights) of why the road to equality is still a long, bumpy and steep climb.

 

 

Of clouded observations and in your face opinion

I am not, by nature, one to ponder the passing of time. Yet of late I find myself a little more reflective, perhaps even ponderous in my musings. The cliched “watershed moment”, “midlife crisis” etc are not pertinent  – it is instead merely a cold, hard realisation of being in my 40’s. Physically sound, well perhaps other than a distince lack of extendable arms which seems to point towards a quirky pair of specs before 2012 (something purple and fabulous – the specs that is).

The maelstrom of my daily existence is ever more often regulated by a moment of blinding clarity. This morning, in the midst of a vexing “numbers” problem it was – I am at peace with myself, truly! The more youthful angst of trying to impress, of being your outer shell and not your inner soul, of being the bouquet garni and not the stock have been relegated to a dusty corner (yes dusty – would you ever!)

For now – self-belief, serenity and harmony are the building blocks of the future and I honestly don’t give a rodents nether regions about the rest.

“I am what I am and what I am needs no excuses” – Gloria Gaynor

 

The best advice I ever had

from Bob Thaves, the creator of  http://frankandernest.com/ – “Remember Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels”.Loubbotin’s – I can dream

It has “inspired” me in a funny old way to believe that women are capable of greatness in any sphere, no matter the odds and obstacle course crafted by old school business thinking.

Perambulating to the office this morning, it led me to ponder other bits of sage advice and “life lessons” that I have garnered over the years. Mum said – if the label says dry-clean only, believe it (she was right, it took me a while to get it). My dad taught me to dance/love music and that knowing and loving sport if you’re a girl is quite acceptable and will probably help with boys (right again) 😉 . As a couple they taught me that I deserve the very best that life has to offer and that settling for less is really a waste of time.  Heartbreak taught me to trust my inner voice. Relationships taught me that even “nice” people can be really mean at times – it’s up to you how you deal with the problem and how much you’re prepared to put up with. I’ve learned to lock away the sadness and not let it rule my existence. 

Age taught me that being comfortable with yourself is paramount –

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect . It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” – Anon

That said, age has also slapped me around the head with the fact that I can still be afraid (even at my 40plus years) and there will be times when being alone in the dark is quite a scary thing. I’ve learnt that having a backbone and an opinion is a good thing and that glass ceilings are there to be broken through. I’ve learnt the fabulosness of true friendship and how rare it is.

Perhaps the most useful nugget that I’ve gleaned is not 18 carat in nature but the fact that just because I do things differently doesn’t make my way better or worse, it just makes me who I am. 

When you want to scream and you can’t

So today there’s nothing erudite, nothing whimsical or insightful. Today is about the fact that I want to scream and cry and yell and vent and I can’t because Wildie is cool, calm and collected.

My mom is 83 and had a full hip replacement on Monday morning –

Monday evening she was fine, talking and lucid –

Last night she was irrational, delusional and confused –

At midnight she phoned my dad from the hospital to tell him she was being kidnapped, she wasn’t – just out of it

My Dad phoned me at 12.15am – his lack of saying said so much – Wildie I need you to fix this, how dad?

The hospital phoned me at 1am to say he was with her and they had given her something to calm her down – he stayed with her until 4am when she fell asleep – she didn’t really recognise him terribly well.

I think I closed my eyes – somewhere between 2 and 4 – hopefully

He phoned me at 6am – in tears – what if she doesn’t come right, what do we do then – I don’t know dad, I can’t fix this one.

8am – she’s much improved, concoction of medicines and anasthetic fighting amongst themselves – dad is smiling though the phone. I’m relieved but will make my own assessment later.

I wanted to collapse last night, I wanted to panic and cry and be a girl and say “Fictitious Someone, you sort it out, you make it right” but you can’t.

My personal descriptive phrase today – road kill.

PS: Yes, I do know I’m whinging – your perceptive observation is immensely appreciated!

PPS: Yes, I know I’m not being nice – it happens.

PPPS: I just realised I have pretty much re-written my own “wearing your game face” post of a some days ago – fabulous, now my own grey matter is turning to sludge – what a horse’s patootey!

To everything there is a season

Ensconsed in my red jalopy outside the grocery store this post work session my weary peepers chanced upon a glorious sky bedecked with fans of pink and gold and a few careless whisps of the white fluffy stuff rimmed scarlet by the dying sun. There is change in the air – the brassy, strident demands of an “in your face ” summer are slowly and inexorably beginning to give way to a more laid back easy-going autumn.

The current miasmic soup that has long overstayed its welcome is none too encouraging but there is something lurking, I can just feel it. Of course if an apricot autumn went hand in hand with a rain squall or three all would be even and equitable but that’s a whole other diatribe. One’s gaze (well mine does anyway) turns inwards for a smidge of introspective re-examination (I think that’s the right word combo, sounds good anyway). What have I done in the last six months? What have I achieved? Have I made a difference in the greater scheme of things?

And do you know what struck me between the eyes (much like Hephaestus’s anvil gone astray) – absolutely diddly squat! As the never ending stream of bright-eyed lemmings stretched ahead of me on the highway, reaching for the horizon in some desperate attempt to escape the mundane, I realised that it’s ok – the lack of tangible achievement is not a crisis by any description. To whom do your hold yourself accountable, whose yardstick do you use to measure success – if you’re at peace in your own skin then the rest doesn’t matter.

Gratitude, Girlfriends and Gossip

in no particular order!

Gratitude seems to be the buzzword of the moment – there are self-help books, leather-bound journals to express your G factor in writing, talkshows and celebrity endorsers abound. Normally a self-righteous “please people get a life” would come cantering from my scything tongue and charge into the melee casting the posers aside with cries of “be grateful to wake-up in the morning”, “be grateful for air to breathe and water to drink”, “live your life like you’re damn grateful to be on the planet”. However, today, in the spirit on guruness and gratitude glorification I want to say I’m grateful for the women in my life.

For girlfriends (both in the flesh and in cyberworld) who will listen to your ramblings without having a contrary opinion, who will let you moan and end-off by saying “I’m here for you, anytime”, who will tell you if they think you’re wrong even if you don’t want to hear it, who will drool over gorgeous men and delicious food without having something better to do, who will take your fifth phone call of the day without saying “now what”, who care how your day has been – good or bad. It’s the perpetual mystery – why do women do being friends better than men, why do women “get” how to be a friend and men dont? Do women care more – do we have an inbuilt fountain of empathy that has withered and dried up in the male of the species?

Here’s to the women in my life – long may we stand strong!

Wearing your game face

 Thought provoking comments come out of left field occasionally and such was the case on Saturday evening at our bi-weekly dinner with my folks when my mom asked me if I was alright. The usual string of assurances came tripping off my tongue but I could see she wasn’t quite convinced so I “dug a little deeper”. It turns out she was concerned that I always seem to be in a good mood, always seem to be able to handle crises, always seem on top of things and she wanted to check if I really was full of fabulousness. The temptation to collapse like a house of cards and reveal that actually the stress levels are in overdrive, exhausted, running ragged and jolly flipping tired was overwhelming but you can’t, can you (she’s due for a hip replacement operation in a couple of weeks so is feeling quite vulnerable herself methinks). It led to me pondering about the image you project to the rest of the world /wearing your game face / which side of the Janus coin is on show today?

Mine is on permanently –  I have learnt through the years to deal with the stuff that life throws at you in a calm and rational manner irrespective of how wound up I am inside and when all I actually want to do is throw a 12 piece dinner set 😉 It’s a double edged sword – people think I’m super calm and efficient and tend to seek me out as a safe port in the storm but the same process (in a bizarre sort of way) also inhibits me from showing my entire true self to the world at large, there are very few people who know my soul.

Every person is the creation of himself, the image of his own thinking and believing. As individuals think and believe, so they are – Claude M. Bristol